When University Of California (Davis) Professor of Evolutionary Biology, Professor Jonathan Eisen, was scheduled to speak at a meeting on Metagenomics in the Era of Big Data, he found himself in a bit of a pickle – or more to the point, a YAMMM. This stands for: yet another mostly male meeting. The male speakers outnumbered women 21:6. He considered his options. In the past, he has submitted a conference abstract in protest, A quantitative analysis of gender bias in quantitative biology meetings. He has also written to organisers and publicly called them out on their gender exclusion. This time, he considered not going, but then came up with a clever approach to tackling YAMMM.
Last week, STEM Women launched our YouTube Channel. We’ll be hosting a fortnightly Hangout on Air series that is live streamed every second Sunday. Our show will cover four major themes:
- In the Spotlight: Highlights women’s careers in STEM;
- STEM Parents: Advice on how to encourage young girls interested in studying STEM subjects;
- Finding Solutions: Organisations & programs that actively target recruitment, retention & promotion of women; and
- How Men Can Help: Practical ways that men can support gender inclusion from junior to senior levels.
Our first guest was Professor Jonathan Eisen who chatted about how male academics can help better recruit, retain, and include their women colleagues. Jonathan is a molecular biologist at University of California (UC) Davis. He’s also the Academic Editor-in-Chief for PLOS Biology. On his blog and social media, as well as through his professional activities, Jonathan is a passionate advocate of gender equality in STEM. Below is a summary of our discussion, centred on gender diversity and participation within academic conferences.